Since taking over at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s new owner, Todd Boehly, has made a number of choices that make you scratch your head.

And just when you thought the Boehly Show couldn’t get any more amusing, the American served up another mind-bending managerial appointment to leave football fans absolutely gobsmacked.

Chelsea have a third manager in one season—four if you count Bruno Saltor, who took charge of the match against Liverpool following the dismissal of Graham Potter. The latter was the second manager in six months to be shown the exit door by Boehly after the unceremonious axing of Thomas Tuchel in September 2022.

The crown yanked from Potter is now sitting uneasily on Frank Lampard’s head. The former England international was unemployed following his dismissal by Everton in January on grounds of poor performance.

Lampard returns to Stamford Bridge barely two years after his sacking by the club, again paying the price for poor results on the pitch.

Far be it from me to begrudge Lampard his new role in Boehly’s puppet show, but the appointment does seem a but odd given his managerial track record. He left Everton in 19th place staring down the relegation barrel.

Fortunately for Lampard, he had a stellar playing career at Chelsea. But for those credentials he wouldn’t have a look-in for a job at the club, not based on his managerial record alone.

There have been suggestions in some quarters that Lampard will use the interim stint to stake a claim for the job full-time. That audition got off to the worst possible start at Wolves on  Saturday, where the new boss fluffed his lines as his charges huffed and puffed to no avail.

A nod to the Abramovich era

Chelsea’s season is not a complete write-off. At least not yet.

The Blues are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and if Lampard was to guide the club to their third European title the feat might just give Boehly something to think about.

It wouldn’t be the first time an interim Chelsea manager earned himself a full-time deal on the back of Champions League triumph. There is a precedence.

A closer look, even this early in Boehly’s reign, also suggests the American’s propensity for chopping and changing managers is a nod to the Roman Abramovich era. The Russian billionaire was a dab hand at shuffling the managerial deck.

Chelsea have had no fewer than five interim managers in the last two decades – excluding those who stood in for a game or two while waiting for the club to appoint a substantive caretaker. The practice is now ingrained in the club’s culture. It’s the Chelsea way.

The Chelsea caretaker managers


20 September 2007 – 24 May 2008|
Strictly speaking, Avram Grant was not a caretaker manager, but the manner of his hiring and dismissal puts him in the category.

Grant stepped up from his role as the club’s technical director to replace the sacked Jose Mourinho in September 2007. Officially he was a permanent appointment, but had his contract terminated after just eight months in the job, paving the way for the appointment of Luis Scolari on 1 July 2008.


16 February – 30 May 2009
Hiddink had two spells as caretaker manager at Chelsea, both during the Abramovich era.

When Scolari was dismissed in February 2009, Hiddink was brought in for the remainder of the season, combining his new role with that of coach of the Russia national team.

The Dutchman guided Chelsea to the FA Cup title on the final day of the season to sign off his temporary tenure in style.


4 March 2012 – 21 November 2012
When Carlo Ancelotti left at the end of his two-year tenure, Chelsea plumped for Andre Villas-Boas as his successor.

Villas-Boas arrived at Stamford Bridge with quite a burgeoning reputation, dubbed the ‘Next Mourinho’ following his coaching exploits at Porto.

Unfortunately things didn’t pan out the way the club and manager would have wanted. So Villas-Boas was shown the exit door in March 2012.

In came Roberto Di Matteo to lead the club until the end of the season. The Italian, a former Chelsea player, would go on to guide the Blues to the FA Cup and Champions League titles, the latter the first in the club’s history.

Di Matteo was rewarded with a two-year full-time deal, only to be sacked four months into his permanent tenure.


21 November 2012 – 27 May 2013
After parting ways with Di Matteo, Chelsea roped in Rafa Benitez for the remainder of the season. Although he was an unpopular appointment, the Spaniard rode the negative fan sentiment, steadied the ship and guided Chelsea to the Europa League title.


19 December 2015 – 30 June 2016
Jose Mourinho made a sensational return to Chelsea in June 2013 for his second spell. After a triumphant first season, things went pear-shaped in the second, forcing Abramovich to pull the trigger and fire the Portuguese for the second time.

With Chelsea languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table, Abramovich, just as he had done in 2008, sent an SOS to Hiddink, who obliged.

The Dutchman managed to rehabilitate Chelsea’s campaign. Although qualifying for the Champions League proved a bridge too far, the Blues finished the season quite strongly and in a much healthier position than inherited from Mourinho.


6 April 2023 – Present
Lampard is the latest in a long line of Chelsea caretaker managers.

The jury is still out.


I'm Barrie Jarrett, born in Leeds, lived over a decade in South Africa, CEO And Co Founder of Planet Sport Limited and Planet Bet Limited.

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